The Cold Never Bothered Her Anyway | on Honesty with "My little Elsa"
by award-winning NJ family photographer Pamira Bezmen, of Pamira Bezmen Photography
2014 has been the year of "Elsa"s.
Little girls everywhere embraced this northern queen with her faults, and they found warmth in her magical snow storms. They all sang "Let it Go" at the top of their lungs and off key (because I don't think it's possible for the general public to sing this song any other way), and they all slammed bathroom and kitchen doors behind their backs concluding "The cold never bothered me anyway!"
Setting aside the magic and love interests, in the end what I find magical about this well done Disney animation movie is that it is one of the few movies where the heroin does not need a man of power to save her, free her, or revive her. In the end, true love between two sisters is what saves them both and the world around them. What saves Anna from her own freezing death is her own "act of true love" and selfless sacrifice. What saves Elsa from her fear is seeing how much her sister loves her despite it all.
I think there is even a bigger moral in the story, however. When you go back to the beginning of the movie, you notice when Elsa's magic turns into a curse: When her overprotective parents try to conceal the truth in a fruitless effort to protect their daughters.
The magic and the excitement is replaced with lies and fear. Fear takes over Elsa's life. She shuts everything and everyone out. She shuts love out of her own heart out of fear.
The parents' ignorant lie causes one daughter to live in fear and confinement for years while the other one finds herself abandoned by her sister and best-friend, never understanding why, living her childhood and teenage years in lonely sadness.
Isn't that the cold truth about every unkind person you've met? Every mean person is a scared and broken spirit inside.
This is a great lesson for all of us parents, I believe.
Let's not lie to our children - about anything at all. Giving them the freedom of truth is the first step in enabling them to deal with their strengths as well as their short-comings.
Love beats hate every day. Honesty beats fear every day.
Even in the face of sad news or difficult topics, I believe that children are perfectly equipped to deal with all sorts of concepts and facts, when they are delivered in honesty and accompanied by loving support.
They become smarter in every way when they know they can unconditionally trust that we will give them the honest truth on every topic. They ask more questions, they think more critically, they also hold us and themselves accountable for honesty as a general principle.
I think it would be ridiculous for me to tell my daughter lies - even white ones - and then get mad at her when she lies about how many pieces of chocolate she ate under the table or whether she brushed her teeth. To me, they are all the same thing: Storks bringing babies, "Santa"s climbing through chimneys, how many chocolates one ate under the table, and whether a friend offered her drugs after school.
If the concept is permissible to one, then it's permissible to all. The principle is the same. Lying is either allowed or it's not. And if it's not, I should not be showcasing it as her role model.
I am determined to not tell a single lie to my daughter. I cannot think of a single lie to tell that would be worth shaking her confidence in me. I do not ever want to see the disappointment in her eyes that I once told her otherwise.
Out of respect and love for her and with the hope that showcasing full honesty will lead to a self-monitoring person with an honest conscience, who also trusts me enough to come to me about any and every topic she needs help with, without fear, at any age. And it starts right here, in childhood.
Here's to all our "Elsa"s, "Anna"s, "Cristoff"s and "Hans"s... and here's to us - being as honest and loving in our parenting as we possibly can be, so that our children can build ice castles and not snow storms.
The cold never bothered them anyway!